Toward Emotional Maturity
TEENAGE GIRL FACING DECISION INVOLVING BOY FRIEND & PARENTS ILLUSTRATES EMOTIONAL GROWTH. GIRL REMEMBERS EPISODES FROM EARLY LIFE IN WHICH LOVE, FEAR, HATE WERE NOT ALWAYS CONTROLLED & IS THEN ABLE TO MAKE MATURE DECISION.
We travel to an enlightened, overgrown suburb where high-school kids discuss emotional maturation in psychology class. "The last big dance of the year is over. It's a lovely warm spring night, the air is so soft, and Hank is such a nice guy." Sally and Hank are out for a drive. Evidently Hank wants to take the back road, and Sally isn't ready to decide just yet.
Toward Emotional Maturity is set in exactly the same affluent milieu as Habit Patterns, and Barbara (the girl with the bad habits) even sits in Sally's psych class. Although this film, narrated by the same woman's voice, expresses itself much more delicately than Habit Patterns, the suppressed emotions here are much more intense and vicious than Habit's chorus of nasty gossips.
The entire film is bracketed by a sexual conflict: Sally and Hank's negotiation whether to pet or not to pet, dramatized by an intersection between a lighted road and a dark country lane. Luckily, Sally doesn't feel ready to deal with uncontrollable emotion and Hank, being the nice guy that Hank is, lets her be the boss. There's a vision of hate-ridden mob activity, a theme constantly present in Fifties literature about the youth culture. The silhouettes of kids are shown dancing in front of a rally bonfire as if they were Ku Klux Klan terrorists, and then a rumor (which is never made explicit; draw your own conclusions) is circulated about a teacher, and his house is stoned by a roving band of kids. While fencing with a friend, Sally's emotions get carried away and strikes as if to attack her; she is nauseated by this and has to leave the gym. At the same time Sally's fear of snakes is primal enough that she overturns her school desk. These are truly dark forces at work here, the kind of energy that made its way into countless Hollywood "J.D." motion pictures at that time but was rarely shown in sugarcoated educational films.
There's no doubt that Sally will grow into a fine, upstanding young woman, but it certainly seems as if she has a great deal of emotional baggage to overcome along the way.
Teenage Girl, Boyfriend, psychology emotions maturity adolescence teenagers dating sports parents high school dances Social guidance
Danger Lurks Safety
Subject: No Casualties
That dog is overfed.
Subject: A 1950's idealistic film.
Subject: I hate animals! (kick)
The next incident is even more jaw dropping, as Sally is walking her dog, when she thinks she sees her boyfriend riding to close to a girl she doesnÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt recognize. In a rage, she starts taking it out on the DOG! Yanking and pulling on the leash! Awwwwww! Honestly, IÃÂÃÂve been seeing a lot of very odd animal cruelty in these films lately.. WhatÃÂÃÂs going on?
Sally learns to control her emotions finally, and figures that going to neck isnÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt such a great idea. Sheesh. Spoilsport!
As with all the knickerbockers productions, this is somewhat gloomy and strange. So of course this is recommended!
Subject: Why So Angry?
Subject: Toward Emotional Maturity
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on Our Secret Century, Vol. 3: The Behavior Offensive.